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Thread: The County Championship

  1. #226

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    Budgie scum.

    I suppose it had to happen at some point.

  2. #227
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Way off!

    Knew the Duke of Norfolk would throw you.

    Their nickname is a bird. (Doesn't narrow it down much)

    And one to actually narrow it down for you.
    They have previously played matches at the home of their city rivals.

  3. #228

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    Crystal Palace?

  4. #229

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    QPR played at Selhurst Park, rather than the other way around I think. So I'll say Sheffield Wednesday.
    I'm just glad it's not Norwich

  5. #230
    I'm guessing Wednesday too.

  6. #231
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    May 2017 (cont'd)

    A new start in a new county.


    I'd accepted the job and was part way through the 114 mile journey before the end of the phone call.
    This was a great opportunity and I wasn't going to pass it up.
    Not a club of this size.
    A club that were four time top flight winners but not since the 1920's. Three time FA Cup winners but not since the 1930's. The clubs most recent honour was the League Cup back in 1991.
    It was not just the club that excited me but the ground as well. A 39,814 seater stadium famous the world over as, until recently, a venue for FA Cup semi finals but also as the venue for one of world footballs most awful tragedies.

    The man on the phone was someone known to many as well. Milan Mandaric, former owner of Portsmouth and Leicester was at the helm and he spoke of how impressed he was at what I had done at Shrewsbury and wanted to give me an opportunity to do the same with his club.

    It wouldn't have mattered what he said. I would have taken the job. Instead of playing at League One level, I would now be playing at Championship level, in a splendid stadium against top quality players.

    The call ended and I drove the rest of the way thinking big and what I could do with the club.
    If I was honest, apart from their name and what division they were in. I knew nothing about what state they were in. I didn't know where they finished. I didn't know who was in the squad. I didn't know what the financial situation was.
    But i didn't care.

    Just over two hours later. My new workplace came into view.


    After a short meeting with my new chairman and the formailties of signing the contract. I was the new Sheffield Wednesday manager and I looked over the inside of the ground for the first time.





  7. #232

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    Sheffield it is! Great to see that you've landed a big job, hope they've got some decent players for you to work with straight away!

  8. #233

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    Massive sleeping giant - good luck!

  9. #234
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    May 2017 (Part 3)

    I spent the night at a local hotel and was then back at the ground the next morning for the press conferences and to officially meet the team.
    I was very excited to be making the step up to England's second tier.
    It would be a great challenge for me and one that I was relishing to see if I was good enough.

    After completing all the formalities with the national and international players like Sky and the BBC and interviews for more local establishments like the Sheffield Telegraph and The Mercury, I was free to return to Mr Mandaric's office before stopping in on the end of the mornings training session.

    Whilst with the owner, he filled me in on some key details. Sheffield Wednesday had finished in 13th place in the season just ended. That wasn't too bad I felt and something that could be built on.

    He told me about the history of the club. How he wanted to get them back in the top division and challenging for honours.

    Then I had to ask what was going to be a difficult question.
    I asked him what the finances were like.
    He laughed and sat back in his chair.
    He explained that at the moment he had a lot of money tied up in other ventures and that money was a little tight at that time.
    He could only afford to put in a small amount.
    I wondered how small.
    When he said that the clubs bank balance was around £26m and he was allowing about £22m of that to be available for transfer activity, I nearly fell off my chair!

    With that our brief meeting ended and I followed him out onto the pitch to meet the staff and players.

    He explained on the way down that the club had two General Managers in place but they were in place for the business side of things and would not interfere in how I ran the club.
    Mandaric himself would not interfere overly either.


    First person I met with was Paul Wilkinson who was the assistant manager. He looked worried as I met him. He was clearly wary that I might want to bring in my own men to form my back room staff.
    If I was honest, I couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't replace him if there were better alternatives available.


    Five coaches were in place. Andy Rhodes, Dean Ramsdale, Lee Bullen, Nel Thompson and the nicely named Neville Burbeary. All were reasonable and again if there were others available they may be replaced.

    Spoiler!


    It was then on to the squad. And a huge squad it was. 47 players! 47!
    Who would need that many players?
    It transpired that a few of them have transfers away from the club organised but still. That's a big squad.
    A lot of them had been placed into the reserves as well by the caretaker manager.
    Instantly I knew that the squad would need trimming. And that meant only one thing to me. Even more money available to spend!
    It also meant that I would be instantly unpopular with some of the players as I would be coming in to place some of them onto the transfer list. But needs must. The fact that the wage bill added up to £500,000 a week meant I had to really.

    I was pleasantly suprised though as I approached the edge of the pitch as I actually recognised some of the players.
    The first of those being one of the keepers.


    The squad consisted of:

    Goalkeepers

    Spoiler!


    Fraser Forster is a great person to find at the club and means that I may not need to shop for a new keeper. He has expressed an interest in joining a bigger club though so may or may not be around. Ross Turnbull also an able back up but Fernandes is an interesting one. He was actually more of a first choice under the old regime. I will need to decide whether he stays or goes. Dawson will hopefully be sold on.

    Defenders

    Spoiler!


    21 of them!! Needs to be significantly trimmed. It shows the fact that we have too many because some of them don't even have a squad number. Almost everyone of them is either unhappy or transfer listed by request. Awful lot of left backs as well.

    Midfielders

    Spoiler!


    A large number of midfielders as well, 15 of them and none are remarkable. The bigger names are Lee Cattermole and Fabian Delph.
    Some are scheduled to be leaving as Angel, McCabe and Felipe Melo will be leaving in the summer. It's not the real Felipe Melo so not that fussed about the three leaving and hopefully others will follow them out the door.

    Attackers

    Spoiler!


    Not too many forwards and I think I can probably get away with May, Gayle and at a push Madine at this level. The rest will be surplus to requirements before I look to bring in another forward. I have one in mind.

    Overall, the squad was not too bad but did need improvement. And certainly trimming. There were of course the players who would not fit into my favoured 4-1-3-2.

    It is good that I have the whole summer to do some scouting and try and put my own stamp on the squad.

    Matches and Roundup

    I sat down in my new office and saw the reports that the coaches had compiled on all the players. There were also reports from my one physio. I also called in some of the scouts and gave them some assignments for the summer. Seven scouts on the payroll and none of them were superb but I would use at least some of them.
    One was sent to look at youth players, one scouting England and a third UK and Ireland. Hopefully they would unearth some gems. I also sent out a scout to look at whoever we were playing next for the season.

    I would also look for new recruits myself and the fist thing I did was have a look at the list of players that had contracts expiring to see if any talent had yet to be snapped up.
    There were a few decent players out there but there wage demands were frankly outrageous so I decided to wait and see if they would have second thoughts if their contracts ran out and they were released by their clubs.

    So it was on to getting players out the door.

    Cameron Dawson, Ed Sanders, Joe O'Cearuill, Dejan Kelhar and Rafael Floro were the first to be added to the transfer list and I would wait to see if they attracted any interest.

    I would now take some time to settle in to my new surroundings and get used to being Sheffield Wednesday manager.

    Winger Darren Kavanagh and Simeon Slavchev soon joined them on the list along with another winger Scott Wagstaff. The wide men would not fit into my formation so it was best if they tried to find employment elsewhere.

    I was happy to see that a number of players had contracts expiring so that would trim the numbers somewhat.
    And it took just three days to have a confirmed outgoing as Darren Kavanagh left the club bound for Brazil.
    And on the penultimate day of the month, I confirmed my first signing. Some may be pleased to see who it is!

    Transfers

    IN -

    Andy Hopkins (Shrewsbury) - £170,000


    OUT -

    Darren Kavanagh - £750,000 (plus 25% future fee)



    The club made £3.4m in the month of May and had expenditure of £3.7m. Only a slight deficit and I can deal with that in my first month. Hopefully I will get to a stage where I am constantly making money every month.
    The bank balance at the end of the month was £25,511,472 and the transfer budget down to £20.5m.

  10. #235

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Not too many forwards and I think I can probably get away with May, Gayle and at a push Madine at this level. The rest will be surplus to requirements before I look to bring in another forward. I have one in mind.
    Please be Andy Hopkins, please be Andy Hopkins...

    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Transfers

    IN -

    Andy Hopkins (Shrewsbury) - £170,000

    Yes!

    Excellent keepers, reasonable strikers, but I'm not overly impressed by the defence or midfield. Looking forward to a summer of tranfer activity!

  11. #236

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    Nevill looks only decent staff member!

    Wedge of transfer money

    GK - sorted. Forster is a great capture! Turnbull and Fernandes will do as back up!

    DEF - Looks wank if truth be told. Mariappa is OK and the last guy has potential for a 19 year old but major investment here?

    MID - Can build a team around Delph and Cattermole - bag 'o' nails otherwise!

    STR - Stevie May looks pick of bunch and seems o end up at Chelsea in new DB so must have something about him. Gayle should be doing better than he did last year and Madine average enough



    Hopkins

  12. #237

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    That squad reminds me of when I rocked up at Birmingham in my story. Full of dross and lots of left-backs!

    Good to see you've inherited some decent players though. Cattermole and Delph should form a decent partnership and great to see Forster and also Gayle up front too.

    Saw that comment about adding a forward and knew it'd be Hopkins. Hope he can cut it at this level!

    Some names in there that I've had before too. Singh wasn't brilliant for me at Chesterfield and I've got Trotter and Wagstaff at Birmingham. Trotter hasn't done a lot but Wagstaff has been decent!

  13. #238
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    June 2017

    My first full month at the club. A time for me to try and take stock of what I already have but also try to make some necessary improvements to the squad. Time for me to put my own stamp on the squad. I had made a start with my first signing. Time to look for some more.


    Matches and Roundup

    I was back in my office a lot over the course of the month. Mostly it was just doing the groundwork on potential signings and that meant talking to a lot of agents in the case of free transfers and those whose contracts were expiring and a lot of managers to see if they would allow some of their players to leave their clubs.
    It was a long and often thankless task and a lot of the enquiries I made were dead ends.
    It was quiet around the club though as the players were away for their summer breaks.

    I would not be seeing Angel again as he completed his Bosman move to Brentford and midfielder Adam Hinchcliffe was released as his contract expired.
    Right winger Scott Wagstaff was the next to go and he secured me a very healthy £5m as he departed for Nottingham Forest.
    Simeon Slavchev, Rafael Floro and Rhys McCabe soon followed out of the exit door as the squad was trimmed of the players that I would not be needing.

    It was only then I made my first signing of the month. A very experienced Norwegian international who could come in and pass on experience to the younger players around him but also play some games as well. And he came for a very reasonable wage of £14,000 a week as well.

    As everyone's thoughts moved onto the upcoming season, Stevie May was voted Player of the Year and we received £9.25m for TV rights but this was almost instantly wiped out again as the club paid out £8.5m to shareholders.
    This would be the first time I would have a bit of pressure put on me as Milan Mandaric has stated that he wants the club to make the playoffs.
    The players will have to hit the ground running and get used to my system quickly if that is going to be the case.

    Towards the end of the month, there was a bit more transfer activity as Adrian Mariappa left us for last years FA Cup Winners, Cardiff City and Ryan Croasdale left on a free and the final activity of the month saw Chris McCann depart, also bound for Cardiff.

    Transfers

    IN -

    Brede Hangeland (Man Utd) - Bosman free


    OUT -

    Angel - Bosman free


    Rhys McCabe - Bosman free


    Simeon Slavchev - Bosman free


    Scott Wagstaff - £5m


    Adrian Mariappa - £3.5m (+25% future fee)


    Chris McCann - £4m (plus 25% future fee)


    Including early season ticket sales, plus the player sales, the club made a quite frankly huge £37,896,232 in the month. Just one month. It would take about 20 years for any of my former clubs to make that kind of money let alone in one month. The expenditure was pretty high as well though. £10,792,327.
    That's a hefty profit for the month. £27.1m of clear profit. That leaves the clubs bank balance at £52.6m. With transfer funds of £32m. I would probably be looking to spend some of that next month.

  14. #239

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    Some great money for the "outs"

    Suprised to se you let Mariappa go though considering your defence looks terrible and he was th ebst of a bad bunch - MAJOR recruiting needed there IMO

    Brede will certainly do for a freee and expereinced

  15. #240

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    Fair bit of cash raised there! What were your reasons for letting the players leave for the bigger fees? Wagstaff is a decent winger imo unless you don't use wingers?

    I like Brede, getting on a bit now though so hope he doesn't do a Mertesacker and get exposed a lot

  16. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Some great money for the "outs"

    Suprised to se you let Mariappa go though considering your defence looks terrible and he was th ebst of a bad bunch - MAJOR recruiting needed there IMO

    Brede will certainly do for a freee and expereinced
    Figured I will be able to have the month to find replacements better than Mariappa. Hangeland will certainly do a job but may well play more than I hoped. His pace is a worry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Fair bit of cash raised there! What were your reasons for letting the players leave for the bigger fees? Wagstaff is a decent winger imo unless you don't use wingers?

    I like Brede, getting on a bit now though so hope he doesn't do a Mertesacker and get exposed a lot
    Wagstaff is a winger and would be unused as it's 4-1-3-2 from me. McCann II could have kept but doubt I would ever gt that kind of offer for him again so had to cash in.
    Will need some kind of replacement though probably.

  17. #242

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    Don't think any of the players you've sold will be missed, and you've managed to get good money for them! Time to start splashing the cash now

  18. #243

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    Definitely need to bring in some quality defenders - the squad is really lacking there. Hopefully Forster should be quality for you though, got to be the best player in the squad there. Shame you let Wagstaff go, seems decent from his time so far at Birmingham in an alternate reality

  19. #244

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    Send the scouts to Africa and find the new Taribo West

  20. #245
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    July 2017

    A time for reinforcements now after clearing some unwanted players. I would need to work had to identify the right players as although I had the financial clout. Sheffield Wednesday did not quite have the pull to get the best available. I have made a bit of a reputation with players that are not world beaters though so I hoped that would continue.

    Matches and Roundup

    The players will return from their summer breaks this month and I will get to work with them properly on the training ground.
    Not all would make it back though as on July 1st, Filipe Melo moved on to Tranmere, Claude Dielna to Blackpool and Sergiu Bus released before Sammy Clingan decided that was the right time to give me a call from a beach in Barbados and tell me he had decided to retire from professional football.
    The two free transfers I had prepared myself for but Clingan's decision was a bit of a shock although ultimately he won't be missed to much. The fact that he had only made 2 substitute appearances since joining the club told him all he needed to know.
    This meant three more names off the wage bill and the squad was down to 36 in number. Still probably too may although I could cope with a squad that size if the distribution of positions covered was better.
    There was still work to do.

    It took until just the fifth of the month to confirm our first signing of the month. Georgi Tersiev would be a good addition and a good foil if he is to play alongside Hangeland as his pace can cover for the lack of it from the Norwegian.
    The Bulgarian was closely followed by Paddy McNair who would join on loan.
    And following that, a signing I was very excited about. Being a forward by trade, it takes a lot to get me excited about a defender but my acquisition of Ricardo Santos got my blood pumping. Able to play right back or centre back, I expect big things from him in the long run.
    Another man had got me excited as well but he was proving tougher to get but I would not give up easily.

    Next I added to the midfield by returning to Man Utd and securing Andreas Pereira on loan for the season. He would give some competition in a position where the players I had were OK but not many in number.

    Johnny Fenwick finally gave up waiting for me to offer him a new deal and left the club and it was then, after the flurry of signings, about a week before the next one as Shane Duffy was signed as defensive cover. I don't see him being first choice but if he impresses me then who knows.

    It was then that I decided to have a sit down in my office with Daniel Fernandes. The keeper had ended the season as number 1 but with Forster in the ranks and decent back up in Ross Turnbull, I informed him that regretfully he would not be getting many games this coming season.

    He looked disappointed until I gave him a lifeline. I pushed a new contract in front of him. He looked confused until he read it and saw that I was offering him a chance to stay at the club. As my assistant manager!
    He signed it immediately. Which I was very happy with, because I had halved his wages!!


    I was really happy with the appointment. He was much better than the previous incumbent and as surprising as it was that Fernandes agreed to end his playing career, I couldn't be happier. It does mean I may need to find a back third keeper.

    There was one further signing in the month as the scouts found a hidden gem playing in Iran. Another centre back and at just £500,000, I couldn't say no to Hrayr Mkoyan.

    I did of course continue tradition and although I didn't need the cash. The Make Money Cup was back. Entrants this year included a returning club as Chelsea (R) would join us and two new entrants as we will also welcome Yorkshire Main and Celtic Nation to Hillsborough. The tournament kicks off tomorrow, 1st August.

    Transfers

    IN -

    Georgi Tersiev (Ludogorets) - £1.5m


    Paddy McNair (Man Utd) - Season Long Loan


    Andreas Pereira (Man Utd) - Season Long Loan


    Hrayr Mkoyan (Tractor Sazi) - £500,000


    Shane Duffy - free transfer


    Ricardo Santos - £1.7m




    OUT -

    Sammy Clingan - Retired


    Filipe Melo - Bosman free


    Claude Dielna - Bosman free


    Sergio Bus - Free Transfer


    Johnny Fenwick - free transfer



    With all the transfer activity and people coming and going at the club, we made a loss for the month. Not as big as I thought it would be but it was a loss all the same. Income for the month amounted to £3m whilst expenditure totalled £7m.
    A £4m deficit for the month I could cope with. Especially as there was still £48.6m in the coffers and £30m of that to spend if I needed to.
    I feel I will need to spend some and I am actively looking for a defensive midfielder as Cattermole is the only one we have currently (and he is courting interest) and probably a central midfielder or two as well.

    I will very soon take charge for the first time though as the Make Money Cup gets under way. I will be able to see what some of my new signings can do in a match situation.
    Last edited by ebfatz; 29-01-16 at 08:51 PM.

  21. #246

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    Great Ass Man atts!

    McNair looks shite?

    Pereira a good loan signing

    Mykoyan and Terziev looks solid

  22. #247

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    You're doing well with getting rid of the dross fairly quickly. Players coming in look OK but not spectacular, certainly expected Pereira and McNair to look a lot better for their age.

    Looks like we're missing screenshots for Ricardo Santos and Shane Duffy?

    Done well to persuade Fernandes to be the assistant manager, he looks great. I think I did that once but the guy then left to join somewhere else as player coach!

  23. #248

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    Some good work there.

    I'm really pleased you've continued the tradition of the make money cup though

  24. #249
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Looks like we're missing screenshots for Ricardo Santos and Shane Duffy?



    Will add to original post as well.

  25. #250
    ebfatz is offline Social Media Bod
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    August 2017

    My first chance to see my players out on a football pitch in a match situation. It's all very good playing 11 v 11 in training but it's different against different opposition. It will give me some indiction on my starting eleven once the league games come round.
    Still time for a bit of late business as well if I can find the right players.

    Matches and Roundup

    The Make Money Cup. Sheffield Wednesday drawn against Celtic Nation and we would be the second of the two semi finals. The whole squad were in the stands to watch Chelsea (R) take on Yorkshire Main.
    All the recognisable names like Dominic Solanke, Isaiah Brown, Alex Kiwomya and Islam Feruz have moved on to Chelsea's full team but I figured they would still have enough about them to see off Yorkshire Main.
    They hadn't played a game since losing to my Solihull side in the Make Money Cup back in 2015 whereas Yorkshire got a few invitations. They had beaten Northern Premier Harrogate just the week before 3-1 and drawn with Leamington the week before that.
    And it was the match practice that proved vital as Main took them to 90 minutes and then through extra time before coming through 3-1 on penalties. They were in the Final and it was now time to see who would join them.

    It took a while for me to make a decision. Would I throw all the new signings in? Would I add them gradually? I knew the pitfalls of changing too many faces in a team and causing an unsettling experience. I could not 100% guarantee that we would make the final though even though we were firm favourites so I had to put the majority of them in from the start.
    My first ever Sheffield Wednesday line up looked like this.



    It showed a glaring need for more midfield cover. Past Delph and Pereira we did not have much. Louis Reed was OK but not great. Past that Liam Trotter was transfer listed by request from prior to my arrival and Ricky Goddard was just 18. Stephen Quinn could step in but was slowing down as he was now 31 years old.
    Terziev, Santos, Hangeland, Pereira and Hopkins all started in blue and whites stripes for the first time. Mkoyan and McNair made the bench and may well feature depending on how we are going.
    As always, I would not be too fussed on the final score as it was ultimately a chance for me to look at the players but there was a little part of me that wanted to win the Cup again as I had never lost it yet. To keep up that record and win it again would be good deep down.
    I was welcomed out of the tunnel by the hardy souls that that turned out for the game with some rapturous applause and as the names of the new signings were read out over the PA system, each got a loud cheer from the fans.

    It took one of our new signings just three minutes to make his stamp on the game and it was the one I knew the best. Delph played a through ball, the striker took one touch to get the ball out from under his feet and thumped a shot into the goal from 25 yards, in off the underside of the bar. It was very reminiscent of Roberto Di Matteo's goal in the FA Cup Final 20 years before back in 1997.

    We had a second before the game reached the 10 minute mark as a flowing move left loanee Andreas Pereira free and clear to slip the ball under the keeper to give us breathing space.
    We could afford to step off the early gas now and pass our way around, get used to playing as a team. That could have happened. If another of my new signings didn't have a stupid rush of blood to the head.
    A Celtic Nation forward broke ahead of Georgi Terziev and he instinctively reached out a hand grabbed his opponents shirt and pulled him back. Instant yellow card.
    I could have coped with that. The fact that he did exactly the same thing, less than 75 seconds later, earning himself a red card in just the 14th minute, made me less than pleased!
    I left things as they were but that looked like a bad decision when Nation pulled a goal back but, before half time both Hopkins and Pereira had grabbed their second of the game and we were comfortable.
    It gave me a bit of a dilemma. I did want to have a look at both Mkoyan and McNair and ideally I would have taken off a forward but you can't sub a man on two goals and I wanted to have a longer look at May.
    Hangeland would probably need a rest before the final though.
    I would leave it as it is to start the second period but would make some changes as the game went on.

    By the time the 60th minute came round, Hopkins had scored again to complete his hat trick so he was replaced. As was Hangeland with the two central defenders coming on.
    Dwight Gayle also replaced Stevie May to become the lone striker.
    I'd be interested to see how he did as well as he currently stands at third choice striker but could push ahead of May if the Scotsman doesn't perform.

    The rest of the game passed without incident apart from Gayle hitting the bar and so we were through to the Final.
    Decisions will need to be made once I know what condition everyone would be in.
    Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Celtic Nation

    It was on to the Final. Yorkshire Main. A different opponent to the one I was expecting but it would be a good test for us. The players recovered well considering the final was just the day after the Semi. They had taken it easy enough in the semi final and everyone who started the semi was fit to start the final.
    One man would not though. As punishment for his red card, Terziev was dropped and replaced by Shane Duffy. Stephen Quinn came in for Louis Reed as well.

    I don't know if the players thought it was going to be a walkover but they were deeply shocked as the first half went on as the opponents came out fighting. They were on top for the first 10-20 minutes and held a lot of the possession although they were not good enough to get through and have a shot on our goal. As the half went on, we slowly got ourselves back into the game and the breakthrough came after 24 minutes when Stevie May turned on the edge of the box and curled a left footed shot past the keeper.
    All I had to do was show the players the match stats at half time to keep them motivated. Yorkshire Main - 0 shots. Sheffield Wednesday - 7 shots, 7 on target.
    All we had to do was keep doing what we were doing.
    Three minutes into the second half, we doubled our lead through Andy Hopkins before I replaced him on 59 minutes. His replacement scored less than a minute after coming on. Gary Madine with the goal.
    He scored again before the end as we cruised to victory and I once again got my hands on The Make Money Cup!
    Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Yorkshire Main

    Tougher tests lay ahead than Celtic Nation and Yorkshire Main but the run outs against them had gone well, shown we can score goals and can play together. The defence had yet to be really tested though and I would need to see how they get on. Hangeland had tired quickly in both games so I would need to keep an eye on how he fairs against stronger teams.

    We start our league campaign away at Reading and I would be up against a familiar face in the opposition midfield. Alan Browne, the star of my Shrewsbury midfield, had left the club shortly afterI had, signing for Reading in a £2.3m deal.
    He was set for his debut, as was the likes of Alex Pritchard and Henri Lansbury as they created a new look midfield for themselves.
    I decided to give Bryan Oviedo a go at left back at the expense of Rhoys Wiggins. Oviedo had stated that he wanted to move to a bigger club. If he didn't perform adequately in this match up he might get his wish to move on.
    The rest of the team was unchanged as I gave Hangeland a chance. Duffy started as well although possibly neither will be my long term partnership.
    It was not Hangeland's stamina that was the concern as Andy Hopkins, for the second game in a row, tired very quickly and was replaced midway through the second half by Gary Madine.
    Reading took the lead after 74 minutes but we rallied to equalise 5 minutes later through May and grabbed a winner through Fabian Delph nine minutes from time.
    It was a great start to the season and I was happy with the way we fought back after going behind.
    Reading 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday

    Brede Hangeland created history and became the oldest player ever to play in the First Division with his appearance against Reading and he felt it. But he recovered in time for our next fixture and our home bow for the season, lining up against Huddersfield Town.
    We went in unchanged and with high hopes of a good start in front of our own fans.
    And we did indeed get off to a great start. Two up and cruising within 10 minutes through Hopkins and Pereira and everything was going our way. That was until they pulled one back after 26 minutes and then equalised on the stroke of half time. Everyone thought that it would go in level at half time but straight from the kick off we went straight for attack and somehow managed to bundle in a third through Stevie May.
    We led at half time but not as comfortably as we would have liked.
    Delph was replaced at half time after picking up a dead leg.
    The second half was the complete opposite of the first where literally nothing happened and we sneaked the win.
    Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 Huddersfield

    Delph, Ricardo Santos and Stephen Quinn all came off during the Huddersfield game for precautions.
    Ricardo Santos turned out to be more than a precaution as he was diagnosed with a twisted knee and would miss three weeks. He was replaced by Emil Salomonsson. Quinn and Delph was fit but not 100% so sat out with their places going to young Ricky Goddard and a debut for Jack Jebb. Finally, Hangeland sat out to be replaced by Mkoyan.
    I was able to make the changes as the next fixture was in the League Cup First Round. We were at home and faced Mansfield Town from Division 2. I felt confident going in with the likes of Goddard and Jebb to see how they got on and felt that the team I had selected would be able to see the job through.
    They proved me right emphatically and two goals from Andy Hopkins and one from Ricky Goddard to celebrate his first start had us firmly in control at half time.
    Goddard had a great second half as well. He had a goal disallowed but then did get his second of the game from the penalty spot late on.
    Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Mansfield

    In the build up to the next game, Lee Cattermole's minimum fee release clause was met by a club and he departed us 24 hours before the game. If I was honest, I wasn't that bothered as I don't like the man at all but from a footballing and business point of view, this gave me an issue as I had no other defensive midfielder in the squad.
    Bids were put out there for a couple of players that I had on the shortlist but they would not be in place before the game away against Burnley.
    The easy choice was to put Liam Trotter in to the position. He could play at the back and he could also playing central midfield so it stands to reason that he could play in a position in between the two.
    Terziev came in for Shane Duffy at centre back and Delph replaced Trotter on the bench but there were no other changes to the side as we took to the field.

    Both sides were pretty evenly matched and I paced up and down the technical area as the first half went on. I knew that chances would be at a premium and if one arose, whoever it fell to would need to take it.
    Stevie May did just that to put us ahead midway through the first half and Jack Jebb did likewise to score his first Wednesday goal midway through the second to give us a very deserved win from a very tough encounter.
    Burnley 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday

    The win put us top of the table as we went ahead to face Leicester in the last game of the month. Daniel Fernandes commented that Joe Mattock had been impressing in training and should be rewarded with a run in the first team. I agreed with this as I was not set on who my long term left back would be as we had Mattock, Oviedo, Rhoys Wiggins, Shane Ferguson and Liam Ridehalgh who could play in the position.
    The game was only two days after the Burnley win so Goddard sat out replaced by Delph and Stevie May dropped to the bench with Gary Madine coming in.
    Mattock lasted all of ten minutes on his return to the first team as he was injured. Without another left back on the bench I had to bring Paddy McNair on to play left back.
    We were already a goal down by then and the signs were not good.
    It was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon until, minutes before half time, Andy Hopkins broke through into the box and was cynically hacked down by Joe Dodoo. The scorer of Leicester's goal went from hero to zero as he was given a straight red and it was double punishment as Fabian Delph stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and equalise.

    That made the half time team talk a little easier and I sent the team out guarding against their attacks but looking for spaces created by us having an extra man.
    The second half was tight but the difference maker was almost a carbon copy of our first goal. This time it was Robert Huth pulling down Gary Madine but the result was the same as Delph calmly passed the ball into exactly the same spot to give us the lead. Now we just had to hold it for 20 minutes.
    We didn't need to hold on though as Andreas Pereira grabbed us a third to put us out of sight.


    Leicester tired significantly in the last 10 minutes of the match and Andy Hopkins scored to round off a fine win.
    As the final whistle blew, I punched the air as I knew this was a vital win and it kept us top and saw us 2 points clear even at this early stage.
    Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 Leicester

    Transfers

    IN -

    Jack Jebb - free transfer



    OUT -

    Lee Cattermole - £5.5m



    It was our first month of fixtures and there were some interesting figures when I sat down to have a look at them. The Make Money Cup gave us attendances of 4763 for the Semi Final (compared to just 102 who turned up for the Chelsea (R) v Yorkshire Main semi final) and just 3909 for the Final.
    Our three home fixtures in competitive competition yielded attendances of 34023, 20779 (League Cup) and 36968.
    Amazing attendances compared to what I have been used to at my previous clubs and not far short of the 39814 capacity at Hillsborough.

    Finances were pretty quiet. £7.25m in and £2.7m out meaning a monthly profit of £4.5m. That sounds reasonable but if you look deeper and work out that if Cattermole hadn't left for £5.5m, we would have made a £1m loss.

    The club balance is £53.2m though so I don't really need to worry about the money running out!

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